South Africa: Tragedy in Eden
A man was pulled down an electric fence by a group of chimpanzees when he was showing the sanctuary for a group of tourists. The man was dragged – according to the report of the South African newspaper Bield - for 1 km, bitten and beaten repeatedly. He lost an ear and several fingers and was in critical condition at a clinic in Nelspruit.
The Sanctuary called Eden opened in 2006 as a franchise of the Jane Goodall Institute, but is managed independently. Its facilities are poor, as well as the way it is managed. Several films of activities developed there have been being broadcasted on paid TV channels, especially on Animal Planet. Their way to make the approach of new chimpanzees with the ones who already live there, due to the lack of sufficient facilities, put in risk the lives of the primates.
Jane Goodall Institute should not have allowed these management practices and should have required that the facilities were strengthened, and enlarged, in order to safely receive new chimpanzees.
Just to remember, the first chimpanzees that were taken to this sanctuary came from Angola in 2005. At the time, a delegation of IDF - Institute of Forest Development (equivalent to IBAMA in Brazil) was in Brazil, at our invitation, in order to establish a collaborative agreement for the construction of a Primate Sanctuary in that country. Initially, seven chimpanzees who were in with families in Luanda and that were confiscated by the Angolan authorities would come to our sanctuary in Sorocaba. Fauna authorities of IBAMA at the time denied this request and practically froze the agreement between both countries, for reasons still unknown (and no Republican). The chimpanzees ended up going to South Africa, for Eden Sanctuary, which was opening its doors. The Angolan authorities would prefer to send them to Brazil, due to the close ties of both countries - and because South Africa, in the past, was an ally in the attempt to overthrow the nationalist government of the country.
The Sanctuary of Eden effectively operates as an extension of a tourist-hotel complex's nearby, as the Sanctuary, the land and the hotel is owned by a South African family. The high profile acquired by Sanctuary, for their repeated movies on paid TV channels, generated a lot of tourism to their own purposes, added to the name of primatologist Jane Goodall, who rented the name of her Institute for this purpose.
Sanctuaries that become a kind of zoo have no meaning (or commitments to the protection of wildlife). Chimpanzees should not be used for public display and even more those who constitute the population of Eden, who suffered massive abuse in their lives and deeply hate humans. There are consequences on that. The fault is not in chimpanzees. Blame it on the humans, who always find a way to explore beings who should be respected and not exploited in our societies.